Boston holds cultural knowledge like a sponge holds soapy water. On entry, visitors should be forced to put on a beret, be given a cappuccino, and grow a beard. You can walk down any street and there is something interesting to learn, even if that something is ‘this is a dead end – but a damn fine looking one’!
So, where is the most high culture place in the city? Why, the art museum of course! Down in the Northeastern University campus, the building is beautiful. Unfortunately, the outside trappings hide the fact that it is a friggin’ maze. Seriously. When we were in there, we came across an old man who had arrived as a prepubescent in the 1960s. Some of the mummified bodies there aren’t of Egyptian relics, they’re of visitors who never found the exit.
So, onto the collections. As mentioned, there are plenty of exhibits on ancient societies – if you want to see Greek statues with tiny penises and fucking creepy Ancient Egyptian art, this is the place to go. I was wowed by a massive room filled with loads of historical musical instruments, pretty much salivating over 18th century acoustic guitars with insane, intricate bodywork.
But there’s more! All the old dead shite makes up about a fifth of the museum itself. As its name suggests, there are huge collections of art from around the world. There is a massive section on contemporary art. Some of it was fantastic and thought provoking. Some of it looked as though it was furniture, and you only knew not to sit down from the ‘do not touch the artwork’ signs. But generally fantastic.
Then there are what I call the ‘collection of old, dead European guys’ and the ‘collection of old, dead, awesome American guys’. The difference? Those badass portraits of George Washington and co are here. You know the ones I’m talking about. Like the one where ol’ George looks like he’s about to climb a mountain just to punch a bear in the face and claim its cave in the name of the USA.
It was amazing to see all those paintings in the flesh. But I am doing the European section a disservice. It was great as well – just, well, not as overwhelming. You got to see lots of dead Europeans and their suspiciously-similar-looking wives, and plenty of people with some serious derp face going on.
So, entertaining in itself. Particularly making up excellent back stories for each of the portraits. Why is that woman holding a dog? Why is that cherub stroking that guy’s shoulder so intimately? Why does George Washington look like he’s a little constipated? A trip to the Museum of Fine Arts is like a real-life choose-your-own-adventure book.